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  • Help me pimp out my lathe

    I have an old South Bend lathe I've refurbished and I'm really enjoying getting to know "this old lathe." But as I machine various things here and there and slowly gain experience in all the various tasks like bit grinding, machine settings etc, I can see right now I need some major "situational setup" improvements. By that I mean nothing to do with machining per se, but in making it easier to just use and maintain the machine. Here's what I've learned so far:

    1. I definitely need to build a chuck holder. My chucks are pretty heavy, especially the 4 jaw (I have an 11" South Bend). Holding them over the ways and either threading them on or off without dropping them on my fingers and/or ways and/or floor can be a challenge. I'm definitely going to build a wooden holding device with a saddle that supports the chucks at the right height for threading on and off safely. Any suggestions beyond this or pics of what other people have done would be helpful.

    2. I definitely need better lighting. I looked around some and think I might get this one to hang right over the lathe:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/252062676085...%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

    Any other suggestions on the light would be helpful too.

    3. I see lathe meisters on youtube always dabbing an oil mixture of some type on their work before they cut it. I suppose they have a jar or container of some type off camera that stores the brush they're using and it's kept close by. Two questions: is there any particular type of container and brush that's preferred? if so where do I get it? And what type of oil is used? I see in my "How to run a lathe" book they used lard back in the day. I assume something more modern is used now, but I dunno maybe lard is still considered good?

    4. I desperately need a small removable wooden work table that I can set on the ways to hold all the stuff I need at hand while machining (wrenches, cutting lubricant, bits etc). And I think I've seen these before, but cant seem to find any pics of any lately. It would be nice to see what others use so I have a better idea of what to build.

    5. Seating: Is it considered bad form to sit on a stool or high chair while operating a lathe? I'm not disabled or anything, just wondering if that's considered unsafe or impractical for other reasons. I like to be as comfortable as I can when working on anything really. (and no I'm not lazy! ;-)

    6. Otherwise it would be good to see just in general how everyone organizes their tools, spare chucks, accessories and everything else that's needed to machine around their lathe.

    Thanks for any and all advice!

  • #2
    I almost never use any cutting fluid, when I do it is high sulfur cutting fluid, most hardware stores carry it.

    Sure, you can use a chair.

    Comment


    • #3
      On the container for the cutting oil, I'd say anything but glass. Metal, plastic is fine.

      The cutting fluid depends on what you're cutting. Whale oil was popular, but a bit hard to find now. High sulphur oils are good on steel, I've heard of milk being used for copper. WD40 for aluminum (some will disagree, but it works for me).

      Sitting, not my taste,but might be nice for long, slow power cuts.

      Ian
      All of the gear, no idea...

      Comment


      • #4
        Oh, and cut hard brass and cast iron dry.
        All of the gear, no idea...

        Comment


        • #5
          The way I remove the chuck from my Clausing is I slip a 1 3/8" dia. aluminum round through the chuck and well into the spindle, close the chuck up on it and then loosen the ring and slide the chuck off the taper. The round is about 18" long and acts as a guide to keep the chuck from sliding down and dinging the taper and or key. It also gives me something easy to hold onto to move the chuck to a safe location. As a back up precaution I put a piece of plywood over the ways under the chuck.
          My lathe has a big chip pan which serves as a place to keep all kinds of tooling.
          I never operated my lathe or any other machine from a chair. Wouldn't be able to look down over my work if I were sitting and besides I'm always chasing around for stuff so I need to be on my feet. The only thing to sit on in my shop is the toilet !!!

          JL.................

          Comment


          • #6
            The handiest thing you can ever do is---

            Originally posted by Machine View Post
            I have an old South Bend lathe I've refurbished and I'm really enjoying getting to know "this old lathe." But as I machine various things here and there and slowly gain experience in all the various tasks like bit grinding, machine settings etc, I can see right now I need some major "situational setup" improvements. By that I mean nothing to do with machining per se, but in making it easier to just use and maintain the machine. Here's what I've learned so far:

            1. I definitely need to build a chuck holder. My chucks are pretty heavy, especially the 4 jaw (I have an 11" South Bend). Holding them over the ways and either threading them on or off without dropping them on my fingers and/or ways and/or floor can be a challenge. I'm definitely going to build a wooden holding device with a saddle that supports the chucks at the right height for threading on and off safely. Any suggestions beyond this or pics of what other people have done would be helpful.

            2. I definitely need better lighting. I looked around some and think I might get this one to hang right over the lathe:

            http://www.ebay.com/itm/252062676085...%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

            Any other suggestions on the light would be helpful too.

            3. I see lathe meisters on youtube always dabbing an oil mixture of some type on their work before they cut it. I suppose they have a jar or container of some type off camera that stores the brush they're using and it's kept close by. Two questions: is there any particular type of container and brush that's preferred? if so where do I get it? And what type of oil is used? I see in my "How to run a lathe" book they used lard back in the day. I assume something more modern is used now, but I dunno maybe lard is still considered good?

            4. I desperately need a small removable wooden work table that I can set on the ways to hold all the stuff I need at hand while machining (wrenches, cutting lubricant, bits etc). And I think I've seen these before, but cant seem to find any pics of any lately. It would be nice to see what others use so I have a better idea of what to build.

            5. Seating: Is it considered bad form to sit on a stool or high chair while operating a lathe? I'm not disabled or anything, just wondering if that's considered unsafe or impractical for other reasons. I like to be as comfortable as I can when working on anything really. (and no I'm not lazy! ;-)

            6. Otherwise it would be good to see just in general how everyone organizes their tools, spare chucks, accessories and everything else that's needed to machine around their lathe.

            Thanks for any and all advice!
            Make an adjustable bracket( You have heard of the slotted angle iron toolmakers club I hope) to hold a cheap dial gauge to read the cross feed of your saddle. Then you get the ACTUAL movement and not what the tiny marks on the handle tell you MIGHT have moved. You can, of course use a magnet to hold the dial gauge but one day you will bump it and loose position. Regards David Powell.

            Comment


            • #7
              Google or use your favorite search for "spill proof oil container". You'll find a bucket full of pictures and videos on options. A regular cheap disposable acid brush is what just about everyone uses. The work and cutter trim them pretty quick so when needed you can just use a new one. Best way to buy them is by the gross in a big box from an proper industrial supply place or from Ebay or Amazon. Otherwise they seem to want the world for them considering what they are. Split the box with some buddies. But otherwise it's nice to know you have a 10 year supply.... helps you sleep more securely and everything....

              I use high sulfur cutting oil as well as water soluble cutting oil depending on the work being done. The black sulfur stuff in a little spill resistant container and the water soluble stuff in a small squeeze bottle.

              The water soluble stuff is Syn Lube's Universal . It's proven to be very economical even when mixed to their rather "rich" 10:1 water:lube ratio. I mostly mix it by eye to something between 10:1 to 14:1 in a liter pop bottle. That amount lasts me for quite a lot of metal drilling,milling or turning when used with a few drops here and a few there.

              And frankly at the richer mix ratios it's actually as effective as the black sulfur containing oil. Where the black stuff works better is during parting, threading and knurling.

              Some others swear by Tapzall with the one for steel and aluminium being used as appropriate. I've got both that I mostly use for tap and die threading. But on occasion I've used it for turning too and it does work very well. But it's a lot more pricey than the water mixed Universal to use for less demanding jobs.

              For lighting you can't go wrong with a really good 4 foot bright unit right over the lathe. The one you linked to is not a bad option but I suspect it'll throw light out to the sides a fair degree. So if the goal is to light up the lathe I'd suggest a more box like unit that reflects and directs the light downwards to a greater degree so it lights the lathe and not the rest of the shop and possibly glares in your eyes a little.

              I offer a hearty "HELL NO! ! !" to any sort of tray sitting on the ways. It will constantly be in the way of the carriage or the tail stock being moved as you work. And when you lift it off to let you move the parts of the lathe where in hell do you put it? Instead you want a side table that sits by the outboard end of the head stock and which sits at a good kitchen counter like height. I suggest one of the cheaper roll around tool cabinet lower units. Wheel it over so it sits near the head stock and use the top to hold all that stuff. Wheel it out of the way if it's in the way for anything else. The drawers can then be used to hold a lot of your tooling for the lathe. It's a win-win. If the cabinet isn't in your future due to cost then cobble up a three sided plywood cabinet with top and some shelves and fit it with nice large casters to let you do most of the same thing with a cheaper alternative. Or find a small cheap clothing dresser with the right height top and add casters to it. Or some other table of the right sort of height and stick casters on the legs.

              A good chip gaurd at the rear of the lathe is a very nice feature so chips are directed back down into the chip tray. The upper edge of the chip guard from about the middle and on down to the tail of the bed is a good place to put up a small rack to hold things like the wrenches you often use for adjusting things on the lathe. Some folks you see will have all their quick change holders perched there and ready to hand.

              If you can pick up the roller cabinet as a matching set of upper and lower you can make up a riser from plywood and get the use of the top surface for general junk used while working and the mechanic's tool chest to put the smaller items and measuring tools into the small shallow drawers and the big stuff in the lower unit. Sort of like this;



              This has been my regular setup at the lathe for about 2 or 3 years now. I wish I'd done it about 2 or 3 decades ago instead.

              My chucks screw on to the spindle. To aid in setting them and busting them loose to remove I use a two foot long stick of 1x3 oak as a strong bar. the wood bar being stuck between the jaws and the jaws adjusted so they are close to the wood. That stick has a hole in it and hangs on a screw on the pedestal for the lathe so it's handy but out of the way.j In fact you can just see it hanging in the lower right of the picture above. And normally that rack it is on has one more wrench and one more chip brush.

              Chip brushes go through a very hard life. Dollar store paint brushes are just fine. Especially when you buy the three sizes for a buck instead of each.

              A couple of weeks back I posted some pictures of doodads I've made for my lathe to make it nicer/easier to use in the Shop Made Tools thread. It's post #2650 on page 265 of the thread if you're using the default page settings. The ruler on the magnetic holder for the tail stock in particular has been a real treat over the years. It gives me a handy ruler and a place to park it and it's a better travel indicator than the scale on the ram.... especially as my lathe has no scale on the ram anyway....

              Enjoy your new passion. It's just the beginning.
              Last edited by BCRider; 11-30-2016, 05:58 PM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Machine View Post
                2. I definitely need better lighting. I looked around some and think I might get this one to hang right over the lathe:

                http://www.ebay.com/itm/252062676085...%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

                Any other suggestions on the light would be helpful too.
                https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B0061XK1P4

                This little guy is cool. I bought two for my shop about a year ago. The top of the lamp detaches and is a battery powered flashlight, or you can use it like a desk lamp. I use it for my Taig lathe, which is only about 3" capacity with a work envelope of around 6" max. It comes in handy sometimes when you need a flashlight.

                I know it shows unavailable, but the reason I'm still posting it is to show you something like that's out there and useful.

                Comment


                • #9
                  To me pimping out a lathe means more more more...

                  more tooling holders
                  more tooling for the holders
                  more live centers
                  more dead centers
                  more indicators
                  more indicator bases
                  different types of indicators
                  more indicator attachments
                  tool post grinder
                  machinist level


                  just more more more of the same ole stuff we all start with.


                  and everything that everybody also listed

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    You want to "PIMP" out your lathe?
                    Let various Johns use her, abuse her, and leave her covered in disgusting oil and swarf.
                    Then leave a couple of $20's on the Headstock, and silently disappear out the back door.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Bacon grease works really well for a lot of operations. I do keep some Buttercut around, and some RTD from Rocol cutting fluid as well (its a dark sulphur oil).

                      Bacon grease doesn't smoke nearly as much as the RTD. It's solid at room temperature so when you spill the container it doesn't run out. It smells good - plus you get to eat the bacon. Just get a small paint brush and cut the top off a pop can.

                      I use the water soluble stuff all the time at work, it has its place in a production environment for sure. The home shop - lard or bacon grease is actually really convenient. I do find the 'used' (like bacon grease vs pure lard) stuff works better for some reason which I'd love to explore if I had more time. It's also not considered toxic.

                      Best advice that was told to me, and now I tell everyone else: learn to grind HSS tools. It's a skill that is exceptionally useful in the home shop.
                      Last edited by enginuity; 12-01-2016, 12:02 AM. Reason: kant spell
                      www.thecogwheel.net

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        It's because it's an excuse for cooking/eating bacon
                        "Let me recommend the best medicine in the
                        world: a long journey, at a mild season, through a pleasant
                        country, in easy stages."
                        ~ James Madison

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Chuck sled. Made to fit largest chuck and add spacers for the smaller chucks
                          http://www.shopfloortalk.com/forums/...8&d=1449509634
                          http://www.shopfloortalk.com/forums/...9&d=1449509702
                          http://www.shopfloortalk.com/forums/...0&d=1449510042

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Machine,

                            You don't list your worldly position but if you have the Home Depot near you you can get that or a very similar light fixture for less money and no shipping or waiting. The brand that HD sells Lithonia in LED is a good product choice. I have and installed in other locations these lights and they are great!!

                            TX
                            Mr fixit for the family
                            Chris

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Ian B View Post
                              Oh, and cut hard brass and cast iron dry.
                              Not set in stone, you can use coolant with both to keep temperatures down or in case of cast iron keep the dust down.
                              Amount of experience is in direct proportion to the value of broken equipment.

                              Comment

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